“For many phenomena, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of causes.”
Joseph M. Juran
The entire universe is connected and so are people, events, and ideas. Sometimes we are aware of these connections, but in other instances, we are not. Every cause has its consequence or results even if we don’t see it at a first glance. This is the premise behind cause and effect essays. A common assignment in high school and college, a cause and effect essay urges a writer to elaborate the root of an idea or problem and its larger impact. This useful guide will show you how to complete such an essay easily.
These essays are defined as a composition where you explore/analyze actions, decisions and events, their triggers, and the outcome. Hence, the two constructs and the explanation you provide in your write-up must show logic and a deep understanding of the subject in question.
The main point of this essay is to determine how various phenomena are connected to one another. A writer creates a scenario where one cause generates one or more consequences and why. The paper requires a deep understanding of the subject and focuses on explaining all the “whys” and “hows”. Contrary to common misconception, this essay doesn’t just state a cause and result but also describes how and why it took place. Why did something happen? How did it occur?
Let’s consider that your task is to write a cause and effect essay. If you’re not acquainted with such essay type yet and don’t even imagine what and how can be written there –feel convenient to read about essay ideas and hacks for choosing cause and effect essay topics. It goes without saying that besides choosing a topic there are some other nuances we will discuss in this writing guide.
Gathering Ideas for Cause and Effect Essay
The main aim of cause and effect essays is to overview some occasion or action and its consequences. So, in general cause and effect show how one thing can affect another. Seems quite clear and easy but it needs rather good analytical and creative thinking. So if your teacher gave you such task he wants to check not only your knowledge of the question discussed but thinking skills also. In general, one may suggest this essay form to be kind of a test of student’s abilities to define cause and effect.
One of the greatest hints on the way to success and high points in essay writing is the interest of student, sort of motivation and space for developing his ideas into paper. Despite the fact that cause and effect essay looks quite different from, for instance, narrative essay, here you can also ponder of something from subjective point of view. Nevertheless, the brilliance of the narration and sayings should be omitted here. I mean you’d better be selective during the writing process and concentrate on the main idea, you should understand clearly what is cause and effect.
Skills to write a cause and effect essay
Every essay has its purpose that goes beyond the subject. Believe it or not, essay writing is a practical and effective way of improving different skills you’ll be using throughout your life. That’s why students get these assignments in the first place. Let’s take a look at the skills you develop while working on a cause and effect essay:
- Writing skills – working on different assignments sharpens your writing skills and this essay is not an exception
- Organizational skills – we need to be organized in every aspect of our lives to get something done. Cause and effect essays improve your ability to get organized. You arrange causes and effects in a way that keeps a reader’s interest and avoids creating additional confusion about the subject. While researching, you can identify a multitude of causes and effects. Good organizational skills are essential to categorize and include ideas into your essay properly
- Attention to details – this essay isn’t just about mentioning a cause and consequences that everyone can see, it digs deep and highlights some causal links we don’t notice easily. To do this, you need to pay attention to details. Frequent cause and effect essay writing sharpens this skill and it can only be beneficial for you, especially in the working environment
- Objective thinking – the goal is to report a causal link between two ideas or situations without letting your emotions interfere with the way you write. Being unbiased is a great skill to adopt as it only helps you seem more authoritative and responsible
Areas of interest
Similarly to other forms of essay writing, a cause and effect paper can write about everything that happens in the world around us. Everything you see, read, witness, hear, or experience can be turned into a discussion and thus a cause and effect essay. Every action has its consequences. That means you have plenty of causes (actions) and effects (consequences) to write about. Here are common categories:
- World events
- Social issues
- Relationships and marriage
- Health and medicine
Make an outline
You should already know that without a good outline, creating a decent composition becomes difficult. These essays should be detailed and contain logical links between thesis statements and supporting points. Now, let’s get down to the point.
1. Many Causes, One effect
Here, it is imperative to show how many causes (C), mostly unrelated, can result in one effect (E). The structure of this essay looks like this:
- 3#C (you can add more)
For example, this structure will focus on a topic like, ‘Diarrhea caused by poor sanitation, diseases and poorly cooked food.’ The effects, on the other hand, can range from death and loss of weight to hospitalization.
2. One Cause, Many Effects
The second format of these essays is where you are required to analyze/explore one event, decision, or phenomena that caused something and the effects thereof. It takes the following format:
- 3#E (you can add more)
Here is a good topic example for this case: ‘Corruption is the cause of overborrowing by the government.’ Effects of this action/decision may include wage cuts, tax burdens and a high cost of living.
3. Chain of events
Another cause-effect essay format is where there are many events, decisions, and actions triggering something, and the results are also many. This can be a very interesting or difficult writing assignment because it heavily depends on strong logic and knowing many things at the same time. Here, the structure of your essay should look like this:
- E#1 leading to C#2
- E#2 leading to C#3
- E#3 leading to C#4 (you can add more).
Let’s take an example like, ’Most accidents are caused by drunk driving.’ The outcome of drunk driving is death, and this, can cause grief to relatives of the deceased. Another thing is that one: drunk drivers get fined or even arrested. The third effect is your car gets written off causing you to lose drivers license points.
Having to discuss some subjects in detail and mention its causes and effects may be overwhelming. Don’t worry; it’s perfectly natural to be concerned – it shows you care. Too much stress, though, is not a good thing. To minimize stress, you need to know all the tricks and tips that make the writing process easier, and here they are:
- Understand cause vs. effects – it is not uncommon for students to mix them up. Cause is the catalyst or the reason behind the occurrence of some event while effect is its consequence
- Research – regardless of the paper, research is a must. Investigate the subject from different angles, think outside the box, and collect information that you’ll use later
- Make meaningful links – you need to explain effects by making appropriate links to causes. Their relationship has to be solid and discussed thoroughly. Avoid discussing causes and effects that have a barely noticeable link
- Quality over quantity – avoid piling causes and effects one after another. Remember, you should provide deeper insight into their relationship and use evidence to support your claims. The quality of a cause-effect link beats quantity
- Choose the method – you can arrange causes and effects in chronological order, based on the importance, or categorize them. Choose the approach you find most logical
- Smooth transition – to avoid choppiness, use transition words that allow you to switch from one point to another seamlessly. Transition words for causes include: due to, because, first, since, etc. Words for causes include: consequently, thereby, hence, therefore, thus
- Remember the purpose – the goal of this essay is to inform the reader about causes and effects associated with some subject, it rarely (almost never) involves persuading someone to adopt your view
- Be unbiased – you may agree or disagree with someone, like or dislike, love or hate, but you should never show it in the paper. A cause and effect essay should be unbiased and objective
- Don’t exaggerate – for a stronger impact one might feel tempted to exaggerate the effects or causes, but you need to avoid doing that. Stick to the facts only
- Evidence – it’s not enough to write “this cause has this effect”, you need evidence to support everything you write. Use reputable journals, publications, and other respected sources during this process.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline
The quality of your cause and effect essay depends on the outline you follow. You can consider the outline as the spine of your essay. Just like the spine supports the body, the outline supports your paper and keeps you on the right track. We have a lot to say when writing an essay and it’s easy to get off topic. A strong outline doesn’t allow that to happen. Here’s an outline of a cause and effect essay:
- Introduction – sets the tone of the essay, catches reader’s attention, and creates a sound basis for the entire paper. It provides background information that introduces the topic and finishes with a thesis statement.
- Causes/effects – the central part of the essay and you can write it in many ways. You can mention causes or effects individually or causal links (causes + effects). The approach depends on the way you organize the paper or the causes and effects you wish to discuss.
- Conclusion – restates the topic and its importance, summarizes causes and effects discussed and calls for action while explaining what could happen if we don’t act on the matter.
Brick By Brick
Now you know what to do. And, at least I hope so, you know, why are you doing it. The matter is how you’re going to arrange it. Essay form is not really complicated here. Be consistent in your statements, and don’t forget about your old friend Objectivity, and a friend of her – Logic. If it’s better off this way for you just imagine that you are having a party with these relatively abstract concepts, bring some cookies and tea and have a nice time together, why not. But on that basis there’s no place for overloaded sophisticated phrases and word forms in you creative party, they are not invited. Every essay is worth ten others when there are no difficulties while reading and understanding the text.
It seems like we’ve already mentioned the main features and tasks which are to be done in cause and effect essay. So the rest is up to you – develop it and fulfill as you think it’s necessary in your case. As a little summary for this paragraph I’ll try to point out the most important things which were discussed:
- Cause and effect essay requires the use of analytical and critical thinking, please, pump your skills if you have some malfunctions with that.
- Precision and consistency of the narrative, as in every other (or almost every other) academic writing.
- Cause and effect essay have sub-types, in which cause and effect can be described and discussed separately from each other as individual elements. So be attentive before start, read carefully your task.
- Use of cause and effect words (so, because, therefore, since, if, then, that, etc.). They are necessary in such essays, like indicators.
- This type of academic writing is usually intended to test knowledge of the subject or, once again, the analytical skills of the student. So refresh your awareness in the field of the topic discussed not to be a fool.
- Logical layout is welcomed, but there may be such cases when you need to anticipate the possible consequences by yourself, so here you can use your imagination. Of course, it’s better off without sending the dinosaurs into space on disco ball in accompaniment of Nyan Cat’s theme. But I’m not sure, maybe this variant is not so bad.
Writing Cause and Effect Essay Conclusion
Writing a conclusion to cause and effect essay you can just briefly sum up what you have written before, in short words. Or you can make a short reflection and make some insights based on previously written things. There’s no need in many words, remember about brevity and wit. Try to find the words which will underline the main ideas and statements given above. And… is it the end?
Well, you are actually at the early finish. Having this part of work done commence the essay editing. You can easily do it with the help of the Internet resources which are intended for searching and correcting the mistakes, either grammatical or in spelling. So to make sure that everything is written perfectly well and to get rid of the fear of getting bad marks just use such online essay helpers, there are really plenty of good ones. Don’t forget that intelligently arranged and well written essay is a pleasure to read, so make yours worth reading.
So, my dear reader, whoever you are! I hope you’ve found something useful while wasting your precious time on reading this modest cause and effect essay writing guide. I think I want to finish this article with several generalized thoughts which may be helpful for your future writing activities.
It doesn’t really matters what is your writing task. The thing is that with creative approach and thinking, you can write almost about anything, and write interestingly. Just remember:
- Participate in your writing process in such way that you yourself will be interested in reading your essay. It may seem difficult for some period of time but after some practice you will understand how it works.
- If the inspiration doesn’t come – don’t force yourself badly, you will get nothing good out of it. Wait for some time until you will feel that you are ready with your thoughts and ideas, and then things will happen by themselves.
- Sometimes it happens that while writing you can overdo something. Write too many unnecessary things or useless information, which still may seem valuable for you because it’s your point of view. There’s nothing bad in spreading your ideas but when writing academic papers we often don’t really have a right for doing things this way. Calm down, reread and rewrite until it feels good enough. It really works.
- Keep in mind that paragraphs are much better when not too big. Approximately ten or twelve lines for one are great. Also, it is good when the number of paragraphs does not exceed five or six. But that’s technical details.
- And the last one. Believe in yourself, even if you are not a literary genius, don’t give a damn. Keep trying, develop your writing skills and feel good about your progress. And it applies not only to writing. But that’s another story.